Scythes Australia is a website of Hazelcombe Farm

1C Totnes Valley Road
Totnes Valley NSW 2850
Tel: (02) 6373 4270

Hazelcombe is a trading name of Firedancer Management Services Pty Ltd
ABN 92 092 256 301


Sustainable Living Weekend April 2017

at Hazelcombe Farm, Mudgee NSW

Dates: Friday 7th April to Sunday 9th April, 2017

Location: Hazelcombe Farm, Totnes Valley, (40 km north east of Mudgee, NSW).

Where the dates fit in the scheme of things: This is the weekend before Easter (Easter Sunday April 16th). NSW school holidays start on the first day of our weekend, April 7th. All other states, except South Australia and Tasmania, are also on school holidays. For those interested in the medieval festival in Lithgow, Iron Fest isn't until the weekend after Easter (April 22nd and 23rd). We are back on Eastern Standard Time as Daylight Saving ends the weekend before (April 2nd) so sunset Friday evening is 5:50 pm and sunrise on the Saturday is 6:18 am.

Description of the Weekend

During the weekend we hold talks, demonstrations and practice sessions on a wide variety of traditional crafts and some new technologies to assist with sustainable living. A number of skilled craftsmen and women contribute.

Fitting everything we want to include into these weekends is like fitting a contortionist into a box. For that reason we have structured the weekend so there are 4 ways for you to access information:

  • Talks where you can listen to someone with knowledge and experience speak on a specific topic
  • Demonstrations where someone with knowledge and experience of the topic will show how it works and/or show examples
  • Practical sessions where you can get hands on experience in a particular area - ask if you want more information.
  • Descriptions—around the farm we have built things that are of interest for sustainability and self-sufficiency, e.g. composting toilets, root cellar, large wicking beds incorporating worm farms, dairy, honey press, camp showers. We have written descriptions with photos of how we built them, what we find good about them, problems we ran into and things we’d now change. Some are operational. Others are, actually, works in progress, but all get better with time.

The list below is what we had available for our Sept/October 2016 weekend with a few new inclusions. There is a pretty good chance that most if not all of these items will be available in , but as they say, life is what happens while you are making plans.

Talks, demonstrations, practice sessions and descriptions we hope to have available

Testimonials and comments:

"Hi Nicki & Dan, Thank you for a Knowledgeable  weekend .We have learnt a lot from your workshop , and lovely to have met you both. See you on the next  workshop xxx"

"What a weekend!! Thank you so much - it's people what make the world go round, don't you think?"

"Thank you for an inspirational, positive, friendly weekend. It was satisfying for the soul to mix and share and learn from so many like minded people. My scythe and I are getting to know each other. I managed to swing through half a paddock of fireweed before work yesterday and I can see all the possibilities for it. I’m always up early and outside so suits me perfectly"

"I really enjoyed the weekend. I've told everyone I've spoken to since I came home. Many thanks for organising it. I hope you have both recovered!"

"Looking forward to next time."

"Just a quick note to say thank you very much for a wonderful time at Hazelcombe Farm! It was fantastic to learn so much, meet interesting people, and just enjoy the buzz of good vibes!"

"Thanks for the news & recipes. We had a GREAT weekend."

"Thank you so so much for the envigorating weekend workshop 2 weeks ago. I would love to come again. I came away refreshed and with my head buzzing with many ideas to try and install here."

Accommodation: Please bring along your own tents, sleeping bags and torches. And don't underestimate how cold it can get at night hereabouts even though we'll have left winter behind and are coming into the second month of spring. If you are not into “roughing” it, The Old Cooyal Hotel has accommodation (02) 6373 5353. The Yarrawonga Cabins nearby are ten minutes away and, about twenty minutes away, there are Scott and Wendy's famous "Ruwenzori" oriental style restored train carriages www.ruwenzori.com.au. A site, and sight, to behold. Magnificient.

Facilities: In the spirit of self reliance and sustainability, we have several composting toilets (which, eventually goes through a separate composting process for use around trees NOT vegetables) and a rustic ablutions block, but please understand we have become habitual water conservers due to the frequency of drought in our country, and expect the same of guests so a bucket of water should suffice for a good shower. This water, by the way, is drained off into the food forest system (work in progress!). Nothing is wasted unless it's out and out rubbish.

Meals: Meals will be simple, but wholesome and, weather gods permitting, most of the food will have been grown on farm. Cooked meals will be prepared in our rocket oven  and on our gas hotplates. Omnivores and vegetarians are catered for, as are people with gluten and/or lactose intolerance. If you have any other special dietary needs, please let us know and we will try to accommodate. Particularly, let us know if you have a nut allergy as Nicki and Dan bake a lot of German cakes and biscuits, most of which contain hazelnut or almond meal.

If you have small children who need meals at nursery hours, again let us know because the main evening meal is at 6:30 pm, which can be too late for littlies. No worries as long as we know to take care of the littlies.

If you enjoy a glass of wine or beer with your meal, it's BYO. Check out some of Mudgee's famous wineries on the way here (you won't have time once you're here, and call beforehand so we can point you in the direction of some of our favourite wineries). It is, however, a family weekend so drinking in moderation would be much appreciated.

Dogs: No dogs please ... we've enough here already. Many people have asked us if they can bring their dog because their dog is so well behaved and won't cause any trouble. We're sure that is true, but for a number of reasons we don't want anyone else's dogs. Firstly we have 5 of our own and it is their territory. They don't take kindly to visiting dogs. Also, we live in sheep country with wild dogs about. For this reason, our neighbour regularly puts baits out. We hate baits, but we've also seen the damage the wild dogs can do to a sheep or lamb, and make very sure our dogs are kept away from the baits - and the sheep and lambs!

If you are looking for a local Mudgee dog kennel, we take our dogs to the most wonderful and reasonably priced kennels, Norman's TLC Pet Care. Norman truly loves dogs and has very clean and safe facilities.

Arrival time: Any time Friday afternoon to set up camp (bread and cheese making start at 2 pm Friday). Dinner will be at 6:30 pm. If only coming for Saturday, 8 am start Saturday morning although scything and milking start at 7 am.

Departure time: After lunch Sunday afternoon (approx. 2 pm) or when you've finished with the market.

Course fee: $200 for adults, $50 for children 6 to 14, under 6 free, Saturday only $100, early bird discounts apply

What is included in the course fee: All meals from Friday dinner through to Sunday lunch, camping at farm, access to all demonstrations, talks and practice sessions

Market Place: We have a market place after lunch on Sunday where people can purchase any of our products, but we also encourage people to bring any of their own products if they have products that fit into the theme of Sustainable Living. Will brings seaweed meal - cheaper than you can buy anywhere else - unless you are in a position to buy in bulk. When Chris and Michelle come, they bring their apple juice, Roy has his beautiful woodcrafts, Pete and Brett take commisions for items made at the Blacksmiths' forge - and maybe things for sale as well (have a look at the handle in the mens' toilet!), Chris Corner has sauerkrauts, komucha and kefir for sale as well as the scobies to make them. Wade has the hardware kits to make his amazing chicken tractor. What can you bring to the party?

Bookings: Bookings are now open for April 2017. You can book on the website here.

Refunds: Circumstances change, so it may not possible for you to come to a Sustainable Living Weekend that you have paid for. As long as you notify us at least 14 days before the weekend starts, you can either:

  • ask for a refund, less an administration fee of 15% per person, or

  • ask for a credit of the full amount towards a later Sustainable Living Weekend.

Neither refunds nor credits are available within 14 days of the start of the Weekend. However, if you do wish to cancel within 14 days, give us a call. If we have a waiting list, we’ll do our best to fill your place from our waiting list. If we are successful, we can credit your fee towards future weekends.

Waiver and contract for workshop participation: Farms can be dangerous places if you are not paying attention or paying attention to your children. We will provide you with a list of risks to watch out for, and also, at Registration, ask you to sign a waiver for you and your attending children.

Contact: Telephone (02) 6373 4270








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